The Highlander reboot looks like it will now be worked into a television series rather than a movie.
John Wick director Chad Stahelski has been trying for a long time to get a Highlander reboot to the public, but it sounds like it is turning into a nearly impossible task. According to Deadline, he has “worked on Highlander for years now, for Henry Cavill. Being retroactive is hard.” Harder than working on John Wick movies, it seems. “What’s different between Wick and that? With Wick, you weren’t serving seven seasons of TV plus two spinoffs plus five films.”
So, in other words, the trouble with a Highlander reboot is that there is just too much history there – and we’re not just talking about the history within the world of the film. To make this reboot, they would have to somehow connect it to the Highlander content that already exists, and which already has a huge following. The chances of creating something that pleases everyone from the whole fan base is very low, but Stahelski has some ideas.
“If I were to do a remake of Highlander right now, you’d expect a lot of mythology in those first two hours, you couldn’t explore stuff without it.” Which, he implies, means it would be tough to make the Highlander reboot a movie. However, “Highlander as a TV show now would be amazing. You’d have time to build it out, see all those flashbacks and the potential of it. It’s trickier when you’re trying to do something with that big of a mythology.”
This, Stahelski says, is the difference between creating a Highlander reboot and creating the John Wick films. He, Keanu Reeves, and the rest of the John Wick team had the chance to “learn as [they] went” with those movies, but with Highlander, so much lore already exists and they would have to stick with it and build it out.
Obviously, a Highlander reboot couldn’t be completely removed from the original movie starring Christopher Lambert (it is, after all, a “reboot,” not a “reimagining.”). Still, though, it seems that maybe Stahelski and company could work together to really make the story their own, and to really give fans something new born out of something they already love.
A Highlander reboot series could be a great way to do this, as it would give the writers plenty of space to explore the ideas and to take their time with it in a way that a movie wouldn’t allow for. Perhaps this is why the Henry Cavill version keeps hitting roadblock after roadblock: what they need is a series, not a film.
This could also be a new way to refresh a franchise that some movie fans felt got stale as it went along. Yes, “there can only be one,” but how many times can you repeat the same plot? Supposedly, the franchise had been expected to keep going even after the multiple movie sequels and television series, but it lost its vivacity and fans lost interest.
A Highlander reboot starring Henry Cavill could breathe new life into the story, especially because Henry Cavill has a history of putting a lot of passion and accuracy into his roles. One of the reasons that Netflix’s The Witcher series has been so successful is that Cavill was so dedicated and so enthusiastic about the original source material it was based on, so if he is as passionate about Highlander as he is about that series, we can expect great things from this project… if it ever gets off the ground.